Youth Football Referee Steve Wells Gives An Inside Look At Officiating
We’re happy to feature youth football referee Steve Wells as a guest contributor. He’ll answer questions you may have regarding youth football officiating and give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a ref. Here’s Steve first post-
I am 23 years old. I just worked my first Varsity football game. As luck would have it, it
was a rivalry game. The football gods can be cruel to young officials.
The call was an Unsportsmanlike. A cornerback and wide receiver were trash-talking and
one decided to use a word that should get you flagged. In NC today, using this particular
term will get you ejected. However, with a 14-0 score and the losing side lining up for 3rd
and long this might have not have been the time to flag that.
The result was the losing team getting a first down and driving down the field to make
the game 14-6. That was the final score.
There was no judgment in the Crew Chief’s voice. He was just making a point – a point that I would remember for the rest of my life.
Depending on who you talk to today, you will get varying opinions of whether I was right
or wrong. Technically, I was right. I could have held my flag and penalized it during the
down. I could have spoken to the player. Any of these actions would have been correct.
Personally, I don’t know that I would have done anything differently. I think there is a
difference between words and actions. Guys say a lot of stuff, especially teenagers whose
brains aren’t fully formed that if they really thought about it, they wouldn’t.
In many ways a young official, the guys working your youth football games, are learning
the game the same as your players. Judgment isn’t something that comes overnight.
Flash forward to a 4th and inches QB Sneak a year later. The QB dives over the line. The
Wingmen rush into their spots. The QB looks at the spot and says “What the F…” Then
sees me and says: “Sorry Ref, I didn’t mean that.”
I grabbed the ball, spotted it. Looked the player in the eye and said: “Said What?”
paused “But don’t say it again. Okay?” He smiled, nodded and went back to his huddle.